A palpable controversy has trailed the secret recruitment of hundreds of personnel by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
Daily Trust reported that more than 500 persons, who were employed in December 2015, had been enrolled in the NIS payroll and paid January salary.
It was gathered that the major beneficiaries of the recruitment were the children of the senior management staff, top government officials and politicians as those engaged are on inspectorate and superintendant cadres and they are already undergoing training in Kano and Ahoada, Rivers State.
“I can tell you that about 300 personnel of Immigration were sent to Ahoada for training early this year. They arrived in January and had been undergoing training.
“But they appeared to have been withdrawn when rumours began to spread that they were illegally recruited,” a source said.
Further findings show that about 400 people had reported at the Immigration Training School, Kano since the fourth week of February but that training began on March 11.
One of the new recruits, it was learnt, confirmed that “some of us have bought the employment offers. I knew some of my colleagues who bought their offers for N250, 000 each. In my own case, it is my brother who brought it for me so I don’t know how he got it.
“I am for the Superintendent cadre and so also my colleagues. Some of our colleagues who came late said they have paid more than N250,000 per offer. But I don’t know how much those for Assistant Inspector cadre paid per offer.”
Denying allegations of bribery as said by some of those recruited, the spokesperson of NIS, King Ekpedeme said:
“I can tell you that the allegation is not true,” he said. “For an officer to collect money in order to give a job slot means the officer had already made an arrangement with the management to carry out the criminal act, which is not possible.”
He added that it was possible that some scammers might have swindled desperate job seekers.
Speaking earlier, the Immigration spokesman said: “I am not aware that we have up to 400 to 500 recruits undergoing training in Kano. I don’t know the number but I am not sure it is up to 400 or 500. I am aware we should be talking about 200 or thereabout.
“The military has overrun the North-East, taking over the area from insurgents. The Military now said that since they have completed that assignment over there, paramilitary agencies should move in and start an administrative presence in that area so that it does not relapse to the insurgents anymore.
“However, the paramilitary agencies do not have the enough manpower because we have not recruited for up to four to five years and more. Some people have retired, some have been promoted above the rank they should work in certain areas and some had died either by natural cause or killed by insurgents while some had gone on AWOL.
“So the government asked us to put the number together and after submitting the number, they gave us the go ahead to replace.
“Because the government felt it was not a fresh recruitment, they gave us some waivers such that the vacancies should not be publicised, waivers such that it would not pass through some certain agencies.”